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Chapter 8

Bitter Fruits

Huaiyue replied unwillingly, “But Lord Seventh…”

“Show yourself the way out!” His voice was so authoritative that Huaiyue was too scared to linger .

Bai Qingqing laughed, her voice full of scorn and provocation, “Lord Seventh, is it true that you have a fear of spicy food?”

Zhao Yuchen’s face turned stiff .

It was true that he feared spice, because whenever he had spicy food he would be soaked in sweat and his skin would turn awfully ruddy all over .

It happened several times when he was young, and he had given spicy food a wide berth since then .

Little did he expect the first step of the treatment was to force him to have spicy food, which was more painful than having goldthread root soup .

Bai Qingqing saw the reluctance on his face, so she put on a smile, “That’s okay, if my treatment has put you in a difficult situation, we can forget about the bet as long as you surrender . ”

With a cold smile, Zhao Yuchen replied, “Go clean your neck, I’ll behead you a month later . ”

Then he groped his way to the dining table, asking the maids to attend to him .

It turned out that he still didn’t appreciate spicy food at all after all these years . His forehead was dripping with sweat after a few forced bites .

Before long, he felt the irritation on his face .

When he was about to quit, Bai Qingqing’s voice with sarcasm came to his ears, “I can only see you spend the rest of your life in darkness if you can’t overcome a rough patch like this . ”

How annoying! Zhao Yuchen couldn’t help but have an illusion that the hostile Bai Qingqing meant to revenge on him since the moment she set foot on Ink Garden .

Taking her life was as easy as killing an ant, but taking her life instantly was not enough to vent his resentment .

Now that they were in a bet, he was patient enough to play the game for a month .

He was intrigued to see how would she be kneeling down his feet and begging for his mercy after a month .

The fierceness showed on Zhao Yuchen’s face was spotted by Bai Qingqing, anyone else would be shuddered by this man .

However, Bai Qingqing took it with a light heart, the more Zhao Yuchen flared up, the more she enjoyed .

Zhao Yuchen who was worshipped as God at Ink Garden swallowed several bitter fruits as the treatment initiated .

The country girl forced him to have food that he detested, bitter medicine that he frowned upon and other things that he used to feel reluctant to do . She was even in charge of little things like how much he should drink, when to sleep and get up .

For a moment Zhao Yuchen was under the illusion that Bai Qingqing was a mind-reader that she knew what he liked and disliked .

And damn it, she forced him to do what he disliked and separated him from what he liked .

He would have buried this country girl alive if not for the last piece of ration in his mind .

Prime Minister came to Ink Garden for updates from time to time, anxiousness rose from his heart when he found that Lord Seventh who was respected even by His Majesty was taken lightly by Bai Qingqing .

“Lord Seventh, it’s been a while since Qingqing officially started her treatment, have you got any better? If you find her nothing exceptional, how about discharging her today, in case she upsets you at Ink Garden?”

It sounded like Qin Zizheng was saying it for Zhao Yuchen’s sake, he was actually saving Bai Qingqing .

Lord Seventh was on no account someone that could be violated or mess around with .

Qingqing was still young so she took the bet with Lord Seventh on impulse . But how could he face his old friend if any mishap befell her?

Qin Zizheng believed that Lord Seventh would do him this favor for the sake of all the contributions he made and meritorious service in court .

Zhao Yuchen put on a vague smile, “Are you worried that I may hurt the little girl?”

“Lord Seventh has always been broad-minded, no way you will fuss about a little girl . ”

Zhao Yuchen replied in a self-mockery way, “The tragedy would have not happened if what you said were true . ”

Qin Zizheng raised his head abruptly and saw regret and self-accusation from Zhao Yuchen’s face .

His heart ached, “Why are you belittle yourself like this, Lord Seventh? When the Empress…the madam passed away, you knelt for seven days and nights in front of her memorial tablet as punishment . The punishment cost your eyesight . The mistake six years ago didn’t only blind you, but also made you give up the power and isolate yourself in Ink Garden as atonement . Good deeds like these would move God, let alone the madam that has long gone…”

Bai Qingqing who was holding a bowl of Chinese medicine for Zhao Yuchen halted at the door on hearing this inadvertently .

“You knelt for seven days and nights in front of her memorial tablet as punishment . The punishment cost your eyesight…” kept resonating in her brain .

Cost your eyesight?

Was that true?

He turned blind for his deceased wife?

He gave up on the mighty power because of his gone wife?

She had been meaning to delve into the questions that had been rooted in her heart since the moment she set food on Ink Garden, but she dreaded to find the real answers .

Now she got the answers effortlessly, she lost her words for a while .

She felt angry? Infuriated? Sad? Or anguished?

Bai Qingqing’s emotions fluctuated so greatly that the bowl in her hand almost fell on the floor .

A black shadow flashed in front of her eyes, and the shadow caught the falling bowl . When Qingqing came to herself she found that the shadow was Ming Hao, Zhao Yuchen’s bodyguard .

“Bai Guniang, are you all right?”

She just shook her head listlessly, “Yeah, yeah I am . ”

They were not being loud, Zhao Yuchen and Qin Zizheng who were conversing inside still heard them .

“Is that Qingqing? ” Qin Zizheng’s voice came from inside .

Bai Qingqing had an impulse to escape, she took a few steps back subconsciously . Then she realized her status in Ink Garden .

The moment she braced herself up and entered the room with the bowl held in her both hands, she saw Qin Zizheng was looking at her with a smile on his face . And Zhao Yuchen landed his fierce gaze on her accurately like he could see her through, even though he couldn’t see anything .

She was briefly terrified by his harsh gaze despite the fact that she was aware that he was blind .

She had been messing with him in the name of practicing medicine in the past few days, and he exercised forbearance no matter how excessive her doings were .

Maybe his forbearance wasn’t for the bet, maybe it was a longing for the light . Maybe deep down he saw her as his savior, a miracle-worker .

But she, she gave him a hard time again and again out of discontent, she even revenged on him for what he had done years ago…using naïve behaviors .

With that in mind, Bai Qingqing felt suffocated, she kept away from Zhao Yuchen’s gaze . “Have it before it goes cold” she put the bowl on the table, and left the room claiming that she was busy .

“Cough!”

Qin Zizheng cleared his throat lightly, “How untamed Qingqing is, she didn’t even greet me . Poor old me trying so hard to protect her, such an ungrateful brat . ”

Zhao Yuchen felt something was wrong with Qingqing although he wasn’t able to see her just now .

She usually bantered with him whenever she saw him, how come this time she eluded him like he was some venomous serpent and wild beast, she was avoiding him obviously .

Even though he claimed to take her life, had he ever done anything to harm her?

For the following days, it was so gloomy and drizzly that it felt like winter in mid-October in the capital city .

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